Tag Archives: south ozone park

South Ozone Park juvenile detention center approved, but operators investigated


| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/Stop The Prison in S.O.P.

Just when South Ozone Park residents thought the fight to stop the placement of a juvenile detention center was close to being won, City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Tuesday approved a limited contract submitted by Sheltering Arms and the Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) to erect a Close to Home facility in the area.

Stringer, who previously denied the contract due to various undisclosed inconsistencies in June, also announced that he is reviewing the agency’s “use of improper payment methods in the contracting and construction of these facilities,” according to a press release.

South Ozone Park residents have been vocal about their opposition to the juvenile detention center and have even filed a lawsuit, along with the South Ozone Park Civic Association West, to stop the process. ACS is planning to open the 18-bed limited secure facility at 133-23 127 St. near another Close to Home center and the Skyway Men’s Shelter.

Councilman Ruben Wills, who has worked with residents to stop the opening, said Stringer’s approval of the contract was bound to happen.

“The process of reviewing city contracts is not infinite,” Wills said. “We knew the comptroller would eventually be compelled to register Sheltering Arms’ limited secure contract with ACS. So, we thank him for his due diligence with respect to that matter. Nonetheless, our fight lives on.”

The comptroller also announced that a newly formed Research and Investigation Unit will focus on irregular contracting and payment methods associated with limited secure placement facilities after discovering that several city agencies, including ACS, were using a payment method called PON1 meant for non-procurement expenditures.

The payment method allowed ACS and other city agencies to evade rules required for contracts by service providers, which would normally go through a bidding process, essentially spending millions of taxpayer dollars improperly, according to Stringer’s office.

“The city did an end-run around procurement rules when they set up, paid for and prepared facilities for use as Close to Home juvenile detention centers,” Stringer said. “We are going to investigate this program to determine the financial implications of the breakdown in the contracting process.”

According to a spokesperson for ACS, the agency “has investigated and corrected its payment practices” and has worked with Stringer’s office to register the contracts of the three nonprofit service providers that lacked appropriate contracts.

Community Board 10 Chairperson Betty Braton said she knows that Stringer did everything he could to prevent the registration of the contract for as long as he could.

“Am I happy with it? No, but I understand why,” Braton said. “We will be continuing to work with Council member Wills, with the Department of Buildings and every agency in any way shape or form involved to find avenues that we can pursue to prevent its opening.”

South Ozone Park residents have come together to hold rallies every Saturday to voice their opposition and have created a group called Stop The Prison in S.O.P. to petition the city.

“You can’t afford to be a spectator in this fight,” the group said in a Facebook post. “Think about what is going to happen to our community should this place open.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

PHOTOS: Queens residents enjoy a fun ‘Night Out’ with New York’s Finest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Promoting greater harmony between police and the people they serve, Tuesday’s National Night Out Against Crime brought thousands of Queens residents out to venues across the “World’s Borough” for family-friendly activities.

From Astoria to the Rockaway Peninsula, each Night Out event included free games and activities for children of all ages as well as refreshments, live music and other entertainment. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with the officers who serve their community and learn more about the NYPD’s various crime prevention programs.

Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, attended each gathering and presented proclamations to the precinct commanders. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who made the rounds at Night Out events across the city, stopped by the 113th Precinct’s Night Out in Springfield Gardens.

The National Night Out Against Crime, founded by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities. Millions of people across the U.S. and Canada were estimated to have participated in Night Out events Tuesday evening.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Perp violently attacks security guard outside Aqueduct, steals his Lexus: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Updated Thursday, July 30, 9:47 a.m.

A 66-year-old security guard was brutally assaulted in front of Aqueduct Racetrack over the weekend before his attacker stole his car, police said.

The incident happened about 7 p.m. on Saturday at the 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. venue in South Ozone Park.

According to authorities, the victim, a New York Racing Association peace officer, was just outside the clubhouse when the suspect — described as a black male, bald and about 6 feet tall — approached him and began physically assaulting him. During the attack, the victim dropped the keys to his 2008 Lexus, allowing the suspect to grab them. He then fled in the security guard’s vehicle, which was parked nearby.

EMS took the victim to an area hospital where he was treated for a broken nose and a broken eye socket.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

Editor’s note: An earlier version, based on information provided by the NYPD, incorrectly identified the location as Resorts World New York City, which shares the Aqueduct address. We regret any confusion that may have resulted. 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Con Edison reduces power in south Queens, urges customers to conserve


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr/Con Edison

Equipment problems and a power strain related to today’s hot weather forced Con Edison to cut back voltage by 8 percent in several southern Queens neighborhoods.

The reduction affects customers in the areas of Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven. In all, 138,000 customers are affected in the area generally bounded by the Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard, Van Wyck Expressway, Jamaica Bay and the Brooklyn/Queens border.

Con Edison said the cutback aims “to protect equipment and maintain service as repairs are made.” Until further notice, residents in the reduction zone should not use heavy-duty appliances such as washers, dryers and air conditioners and should turn off any unnecessary lights or televisions.

Queens is in the midst of this summer’s first heat wave, with temperatures today forecast at 92 degrees. Combined with oppressive humidity, it’ll actually feel more like 102 degrees, according to accuweather.com. Thunderstorms are also forecast for this evening.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation also issued an air quality health advisory through 10 p.m. Monday for the New York City area, as the stifling, muggy air may also include heavy amounts of pollutants such as ozone. Children, seniors and those with respiratory disorders should limit their outdoor activity.

The city will have cooling centers around the five boroughs open on Monday, including at senior centers, NYCHA facilities and parks. Call 311 or click here to locate the nearest center.

Con Edison urges customers who experience power outages to report them immediately to 800-75-CONED and visit its website to check the status of service restoration efforts. When reporting an outage, customers should have their account number available and notify the operator if neighbors on their block also lost power.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Thief steals $2K from Resorts World slot player: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo / Video courtesy of NYPD

A casino customer playing the slots at Resorts World last week lost a load of cash, but not from gambling, according to police.

A 54-year-old man was at a slot machine inside the South Ozone Park casino at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. about 11:30 p.m. on July 2 when he was approached by the suspect, authorities said.

The suspect — described as a light-skinned male, 20 to 25 years old with a thin build — then took about $2,000 in cash from the man’s hand as he was playing the machine.

Police released video footage of the perpetrator showing him swiping the money and fleeing the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Sex offenders to be removed from Skyway Men’s Shelter in South Ozone Park


| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

Councilman Ruben Wills announced Tuesday that the 52 registered sex offenders currently housed at Skyway Men’s Shelter in South Ozone Park will be removed by the city.

The shelter, located at 132-30 South Conduit Ave., two blocks away from P.S./M.S. 124, has been a constant source of concern for community members, especially families and staff at the school. They have been working with Wills since 2011, when the family shelter was converted to a men’s shelter, to make sure that Level 2 and 3 sex offenders would be removed.

“We want to announce today that we have entered into another round of lobbying the state and the city [Department of Homeless Services],” Wills said. “Today we want to announce that as of yesterday the Department of Homeless Services has announced that this is not a compliant shelter and they will be removing the sexual offenders in an expedited basis out of this shelter.”

According to PTA President Eileen Lamanna, children living in Skyway attended P.S./M.S. 124. But after one weekend in February 2011, the families were moved to shelters throughout the city and men were shuttled in. The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) did not inform any public officials or community members that the shelter would be converted into a men’s shelter, according to Lamanna.

Lamanna said parents attended PTA meetings to complain about the shelter and express concern about groups of men loitering by the park connected to the school.

“It’s a desolate area,” Lamanna said. “Why are you putting them here? It’s like you’re tempting them.”

Wills previously stated the shelter was not the mandated 1,000 feet away from the school, though DHS argued that it was. The DHS reportedly informed Wills that the distance from the school’s door to the shelter’s door is 1,056 feet.

Wills’ office conducted their own survey last week and found that the distance between the shelter and the real property boundary line at 130th Street and South Conduit Avenue was less than 930 feet.

According to state penal law, school grounds are defined as “…any area accessible to the public located within one thousand feet of the real property boundary line comprising any such school,” including sidewalks and streets. The DHS measured the distance from the shelter’s door to the school’s door and excluded the sidewalk and the school’s park, it was noted.

Wills is requesting that Comptroller Scott Stringer audit the system that DHS is using to calculate the distance of a shelter from a school to determine if it is compliant with state residency restrictions.

“The city is legally and morally obligated to provide shelter to anyone who requests it,” a DHS spokesperson said. “The city ensures those listed on the sex offender registry are sheltered at sites that meet New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision guidelines. Originally, this site met the requirement to be 1,000 feet from a school, but yesterday DHS was notified the facility no longer meets this geographic requirement. We are working to transfer those residents to sites that are compliant.”

Though Lamanna said she is thankful and relieved that the city has taken action, she is still weary, especially after the city planned to open a juvenile detention center in the area.

“Why doesn’t anybody care about this community?” Lamanna said. “It’s just like a constant battle.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

National Grid to install natural gas lines along Lefferts Boulevard


| amatua@queenscourier.com

File photo

National Grid’s efforts to modernize its gas system in Queens will affect drivers and residents on Lefferts Boulevard in the weeks ahead.

National Grid and its contractor, Network Infrastructure, have now begun work to install a new gas main along 84th Avenue between 115th Street and Lefferts Boulevard. Due to this construction, 84th Avenue between 115th and 116th streets will be closed to through traffic and on-street parking will be unavailable from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

It is part of the Queens Gas Reliability Project, a $100 million effort by National Grid scheduled to be completed in spring 2016. The construction will take between five and six weeks to complete.

“We are working closely with the local community to minimize the disruption and we thank them for their patience and cooperation during this complex construction project,” said Mike Ruiz, director of community and customer management at National Grid. “The Queens Gas Reliability Project is important to strengthening the network for our Queens customers and it’s a good example of our Connect 21 vision to modernize our energy delivery system and to help customers take more control of their energy use.”

New gas mains have already been installed in South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens.

National Grid will install more than 6 miles of gas mains through central and south Queens and once the installation is complete, crews will work in neighborhoods along the route, spanning from Rockaway Boulevard to Long Island Expressway, to upgrade the natural gas service in the local communities.

The Queens Gas Reliability Project is part of National Grid’s $1.3 billion investment focused on replacing aging gas mains; installing new mains and other facilities to accommodate customers requesting natural gas service; and ensuring that natural gas supplies can meet increasing customer demand.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Flushing contractor busted in home improvement scam


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

A Flushing contractor has been charged with scamming $10,000 in down payments from Queens homeowners for work he never performed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Alfred Lakas, 57, allegedly took money from three homeowners for air-conditioning and other work to be done at their residences which he failed to do, and did not return any of the money. Lakas, who operates Al’s Heating on 172nd Street in Flushing, is also being charged with misrepresenting himself as being licensed to do the work, although he is not.

Lakas was arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll on ten counts, charging him with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud, among other offenses.

He was ordered to be held on $5,000 bail and will return to court on Sept. 15. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

According to Brown, Lakas is accused of misrepresenting himself as a licensed professional to perform air-conditioning, heating and other contracting work from February 2012 to June 2015. His complaining victims are three homeowners respectively from South Ozone Park, Douglaston-Little Neck and Kew Gardens.

Brown said consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor, and that cases like this one are a pervasive problem.

“Defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints my office receives,” the district attorney said. “To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and check with the proper city agencies to ensure that he is licensed — and not just take his word for it.”

The District Attorney’s office is urging anyone who may have been a victim of this alleged scheme to call the Queens District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Stringer rejects contract for South Ozone Park juvenile detention center


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Nicholas Strini

BY ANGELA MATUA

After months of petitioning and a lawsuit filed by the South Ozone Park Civic Association West (SOPCAW) and three South Ozone Park residents, the proposed Close to Home juvenile detention center has been denied by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Councilman Ruben Wills announced the rejection of the Administration of Child Services’ contract at Tuesday’s SOPCAW meeting.

A spokesperson for Stringer’s office said the comptroller’s office returned a contract to ACS on June 12 “due to inconsistencies in the contract,” but did not specify what those inconsistencies were.

“For months, we have been shining a light on ACS’ attempt to inappropriately locate this juvenile prison in the heart of South Ozone Park’s community,” Wills said in a statement. “It has presented the facility to the public as a foster home for troubled youth, and has circumvented a number of regulations to maintain that facade.”

The juvenile detention center would house youths in a limited secure facility featuring a perimeter fence with lighting, gated windows, locked doors and surveillance cameras at 133-23 127 St. Wills and residents have argued that the facility would be a burden to the community because another Close to Home facility and Skyway Men’s Shelter are both located in the vicinity.

A spokesperson for ACS said they are still hopeful that they can bring the facility to South Ozone Park.

“The comptroller’s office has given ACS additional time to provide more information about our contracts for Limited Secure Placement services, and we are hopeful that we will be able to do right by these young people and bring them closer to home later this summer,” the spokesperson said.

Angie, a South Ozone Park resident and SOPCAW member who wished to have her last name withheld when speaking with The Courier, said she was “ecstatic” when she heard the news and is confident that the community can permanently block the placement of the facility.

“They can [bring the contract back to Stringer] but we still have a lawsuit,” she said.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in April against the property owner KAD of Queens, LLC, and the operator, Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services.

In his statement, Wills asked Stringer to audit all Close to Home facilities because “ACS has failed to detect critical security gaps and other inadequacies in its providers’ supervision of the delinquents in its custody due to its haste in implementing the program.”

Wills also called on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to work with the community in order to identify an alternate site for the facility.

“Together, we can do this right,” Wills said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Community Board 10 says no to juvenile justice program


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

BY ANGELA MATUA

The construction of a Close to Home juvenile justice program in South Ozone Park was the hot topic during the Community Board 10 (CB 10) meeting on Thursday.

The proposed facility in South Ozone Park has angered residents, who say that the city has already opened a number of social service programs in the community, including an adult men’s shelter and a Close to Home non-secure facility.

The Close to Home juvenile justice program would be a limited secure facility featuring a perimeter fence with lighting, gated windows, locked doors and surveillance cameras. The facility is planned for 133-23 127 St., one block away from the non-secure facility and close to Skyway Men’s Shelter.

Board 10 sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on April 23 to discuss the Fair Share Assessment, a mandate “to further the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities,” according to nyc.gov.

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Gladys Carrion responded to the letter and Betty Braton, CB 10 chair, read the letter aloud to everyone in attendance.

“I understand your concerns about the perceived negative impact of the LSP [limited secure placement] residential facility and the concentration of facilities in the South Ozone Park community,” Carrion said in the letter. “However as described in the analysis, a review of residential facilitates in Community District 10 found that it ranked 57th in the citywide ranking of residential beds by community district with a ratio of 4.5 residential beds per 1,000 people. The citywide average is 19 beds per 1,000 people and the average in Queens is 19.9.”

Braton penned a letter in response to Carrion and also read it aloud on Thursday.

“Although we appreciate your response, it does not address adequately the concerns of the residents in the area immediately surrounding the location,” Braton said. “It does not alter our board’s view or our community’s view that the site selected is inappropriate…While we understand your analysis of residential facilities in our district, we continue to maintain that your decision to place an LSP facility in immediate proximity to another, albeit one less secure, is a poor decision in that it implies that impacts on a community from one type of residential bed facility versus another type of residential bed facility are no different from each other.”

Braton’s letter was met with cheers, especially from residents standing in the back of the Knights of Columbus hall who held signs opposing the facility.

Jahi Rose, director of constituent affairs at Councilman Ruben Wills‘ office, who is strongly against the construction of the facility, thanked the community board for its efforts and said Wills’ office has been using the media to highlight ACS’ mishandling of the issue.

“We’re pretty much outlining that ACS has not been completely forthcoming with us and they’ve been disingenuous with one, notifying us and two, making sure that they are listening to our concerns,” Rose said. “We’re going to continue to fight this fight.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Alleged Resorts World Casino killer fatally shot by cops in Brooklyn


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 2:28 p.m.

BY ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND ROBERT POZARYCKI

A 51-year-old woman was shot and killed in the parking lot at the Resorts World Casino early Tuesday morning by her ex-boyfriend, who was later killed in a shootout with police in Brooklyn, according to authorities.

The victim – Patricia Mohammed of East 39th Street in Flatbush – was shot multiple times in the torso by 51-year-old Dalton Branch at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park at about 2:20 a.m., police said. She was later transported to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the Daily News, the incident occurred after Branch– a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who was the victim’s ex-boyfriend and works for a charter bus affiliated with the casino– saw the 51-year-old woman kiss her new boyfriend in the casino’s parking lot.

Branch then reportedly opened fired at the woman and her boyfriend, who managed to escape unharmed, before heading back into his white Dodge Charger and fleeing to Brooklyn.

Officers assigned to the Queens Warrant Squad, while traveling in a white unmarked van, reportedly spotted Branch’s vehicle in a parking lot in the area of Stanley and Pennsylvania avenues at about 5:53 a.m.

When the three officers approached the car, Branch displayed a gun and fired several shots at the van, police said. The officers then exchanged fire, striking Branch multiple times about the body.

Paramedics rushed Branch to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police recovered a .380-caliber firearm and additional bullets at the scene.

The three officers involved in the shooting were treated at Jamaica Hospital for tinnitus.

An investigation is ongoing.

“Resorts World is heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred earlier this morning in the casino’s parking lot. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with the NYPD in the investigation into this incident,” said a Resorts World Casino New York City spokesperson.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Student artists display work at JFK Airport


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of JFKIAT

BY ANGELA MATUA

John F. Kennedy International Airport became an art gallery for some South Ozone Park students who showcased their photographs in the airport’s Terminal 4.

A collection of photographs, taken by eighth-graders from Virgil I. Grissom Middle School (J.H.S. 226) last year, was unveiled on April 29 and will hang near the arrivals hall of the terminal.

Principal Rushell White said the objective of the project was to engage students in the college and career readiness aspect of the Common Core standards.

“It’s important for my students to be able to engage in the arts, which pique their interests, so that we can help them to make connections to their academic studies,” White said. “It feels amazing to have my students’ work displayed. There are many talented and gifted students who are just awaiting opportunities to showcase their gifts.”

The school partnered with JFKIAT, the company that operates Terminal 4, to provide students with space to highlight their photographs.

The students took photographs within a two-block radius of the Ozone Park school. They were advised by professional photographer Jeffrey Gamble to take photographs that would encourage the exploration of nature growing around them.

“Nature is all around us,” said Jeffrey Gamble. “It’s just the matter of training one’s eyes to see it. The question is to ask ourselves, ‘How can photography be used as a tool and a medium to enlighten these earthly creations and our new appreciation for them?’”

Student Marieya Jagroop took a picture of “a lovely pink flower [that] was heavily focused and contrasted very well with the sunlight,” she said.

“I felt very proud to have my picture displayed at JFK because I got recognition in a very unexpected way,” Jagroop said. “I got to experience things no other 13-year-old gets to.  I got to see the beauty in the smallest things, which makes me appreciate the world we live in.”

Her classmate Miko Hamilton chose to shoot a leaf changing colors from yellow to green.

Hamilton said he learned about taking photographs from different angels and how to edit them. Though he has no aspirations to become a professional photographer, he will always take photos as a hobby, he said.

Jagroop and Hamilton both said they saw the value of hard work pay off after realizing the recognition they received.

“I never thought I’d see my own picture plastered in an international airport for thousands of people to see,” Jagroop said. It’s been a year and my photography pictures have come back and they reflect who I am, so I definitely see this as a future internship or a side job.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

88-year-old bicyclist dies following hit-and-run in South Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

CrimeSceneTapeHC1010_L_300_C_R-624x416

An 88-year-old man who was hit by a fleeing driver as he was riding his bike in South Ozone Park last week has died, police announced Tuesday.

Mohamed Ali was riding his bike on the sidewalk along 131st Street near Rockaway Boulevard just before 1 p.m. on April 16 when a blue sedan struck him as the bicyclist entered the street, authorities said. The vehicle then fled the scene.

EMS rushed Ali to Jamaica Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Ali’s family is hoping the driver, who is still at large, will be brought to justice soon, according to published reports. The South Ozone Park resident was an immigrant from Guyana and great-great-grandfather.

“If that person does come forward and they do try to redeem themselves or repent for what that person did, I think it would at least give some people some closure in this family,” one of Ali’s grandsons, Khalid Janeer, told WABC.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New signs to point south Queens community in the right direction


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Phil Goldfeder

BY ANGELA MATUA

Whenever the next coastal emergency strikes, south Queens residents will no longer experience confusion when driving to their nearest evacuation center.

New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have installed new coastal evacuation center signage in south Queens and the Rockaways to direct residents to their designated evacuation center at John Adams High School in South Ozone Park, instead of Aqueduct Racetrack.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder contacted the DOT last May after residents were led in two different directions when trying to reach an evacuation center during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Aqueduct Racetrack previously acted as the evacuation center before Resorts World Casino was opened in October 2011. After the casino was constructed, the center was changed to John Adams High School.

Though emergency personnel directed people to John Adams High School, the existing signage still pointed to Aqueduct. City evacuation plans and NYCEM city flood maps list John Adams High School as the zoned evacuation center but signage did not reflect the change.

Goldfeder reached out to the DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to request that the agency update and maintain designated evacuation routes and signs.

Signage was updated and installed in early April at 28 locations including cross sections on Beach Channel Drive, Cross Bay Boulevard, Rockaway Boulevard and Belt Parkway and will be maintained regularly by the DOT, according to an NYCEM spokesperson.

Goldfeder said these signs are crucial in ensuring the safety of all residents and thanked NYCEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito for playing a role in the installations.

“This change to our emergency evacuation route signage will save thousands of lives by helping direct families in the event of major disasters,” Goldfeder said. “Our community has had two major evacuations in the last four years. The vital information these signs provide is the key to keeping our families safe during emergencies.”

The repairs were done in time for the Atlantic hurricane season and NYCEM is preparing to relaunch the “Know Your Zone” hurricane campaign to encourage New Yorkers to find out if they live in a hurricane zone and what steps to take to plan ahead.

“Hurricane season is around the corner, and we want every New Yorker to be aware of what hurricane evacuation zone they live in and how they can get to their nearest evacuation center if necessary,” NYCEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

SUV crashes into South Ozone Park store


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of @NYScanner

An SUV slammed into a South Ozone Park discount store Sunday afternoon, injuring two people, reports said.

The vehicle crashed into the front glass wall of the Deals store about 4:30 p.m. at 109th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park, according to WABC and the FDNY.

Two people were hurt and taken to Jamaica Hospital, fire officials said. Their injuries were reportedly minor.

According to CBS New York, the driver, who witnesses said appeared to be a woman in her 40s or 50s, may have confused the accelerator for the brakes. The driver has not been charged.

RECOMMENDED STORIES